The Orphanage 

We had class at 8:30 so it wasn’t too early of a morning for us. The showers are hot and I take the first one, then Madi and then the other Madi. I wore a trendy outfit with boyfriend jeans and felt very on point. When I got to school Eli was like very trendy! Classic yogurt and puffed rice breakfast but we had hot chocolate which was delicious!!! We walked the two blocks to the ISA office and sat around waiting for a long time. 
Everything always runs late. It is great that we live so close and central to everything because other people are not that lucky. Austin and Nik live close to downtown. Their host mom owns a hotel so that is kind of interesting! I still have to check it out.

While we were sitting around a few of the other students came out. They are all finishing their exams and leaving for the end of the semester. One girl chatted with us for a while telling us all of the best places to go and see. She also told us about her travels on the Spanish hiking trail. Regan split us up into two groups. Salon de Ferro and Calibri. They are the two service groups we are working with. I am with Salon de Ferro. It is a boys orphanages with 25 or so rooms. Our job was going to be to help construct the soccer field in the center but it wasn’t at a state where we could help. They were still digging up rocks and preparing the soil. Instead we were going to fix up the three classrooms for the students. Calibri is an afternoon school for kids of the streets. It is a program by the police to get kids into classrooms and off of the streets. That half of the group is reorganizing the library, painting, and fixing up the room.

The bus dropped both groups off by the art museum. Calibri is located close by but we had a 20 minute walk to the orphanage. We were away from the city so everything was dirty and smellier. They were doing a lot of construction with the roads and kicking up a lot of dirt and huge red rocks. The dogs are all over the streets. They are very ragged and sad. The dogs by our side of town are nicer and on leashes. We are in a nice part with lots of dentists and childcare spaces.

The orphanage used to be an old women’s prison before it was fixed up. When we arrived, they gave us a tour of the facilities. There are little rooms with beds, a playground in the center, and classrooms around and above stairs. We put our things in one room that had been renovated in 2014 by volunteers. It was kind of icky looking but you could tell they tried. They painted a map mural on the wall but everything was off.

After a tour of the orphanage, we all gathered to make a game plan. They wanted us to sand and wax the floor, paint the tables and chairs, and meet with the kids. Megan and and a group of the teams went to go buy supplies. Those left tried to think of English games to play with them so we could help them out. Simon says, duck duck goose, red light green light, charades were a few ideas but they had trouble making them English and Spanish games. My idea was a touch scavenger hunt. We make a list of things to find like metal, wood, colors, hard, soft… They would learn the words in English and then try to find an object that matched the am description. Everyone thought it was a good idea that would be fun, educational, and easy but they kept harping on their own ideas.

Part of the group came back with some supplies. We started to sand the floor in one of the rooms. We would dance around with the paper on our shoes or get on our hands and knees and scrub. We cleaned the paint off the windows with metal scrubbers. We took out all of the tables and chairs and started to sand them. Megan came back with lime green paint to fix the tables us with. There was general miscommunication but we all started to think about what we wanted to accomplish over the four days of service. We got back to the bus and drove back home at 1:30.

At lunch, we didn’t have much time because we had to be back at school at 3. It was our host mom’s daughters birthday so people kept arriving. We met Luciana and Marcelo’s (the two little kids) mother and father. Marita’s two brothers came (one was the American architect), her mom, and her other daughter and son. Lots of people. Madi came too later.

We had an avocado with mayo, carrots, peas, and potato crisps. Then she brought out fried pork, corn, potatoes, and a mint salad. It was all too much. We couldn’t stay for long because we had to head back to class.

At class, we went over the projects and how to move forward. Then we talked about voluntourism and how it isn’t cost effective. Then we discussed and article we read about child services and adoption. It is the same people every time that like to hear themselves talk.

Dr. Maya then did a presentation on Wari weaving. We will be visiting a Wari site on Saturday. She went over how the intricate patterns all meant something. She showed us a few before showing us a complex one and asking us to pick out the staff holders profile. It was funny to see everyone struggle to see it. I still don’t see it. It is like those 3D hidden story books where you see the image a certain way but never worked for me. On our way out, Eli accidentally broke the glass door because her backpack and chair fell.

Madi and I went home grabbed jackets and went downtown with Mihael and Schilley. It was a holy day of obligation so Schiley and Mihael took me to church. Madi went off with the girl group. The church was super pretty! I think prettier than the cathedral. After church we went out to eat but I want hungry so didn’t eat. We met Patrick at dinner as well. It took us an hour to order because the waiter wasn’t paying attention to us. It was kind of comical. We had talks about math theories.

We all met up with Madi, Ari, and Ama to go out. They picked a bar to sit at and talk. It had jenga so we all played for a bit. We met with the other Lombardis and the other ISA students. We made our way back home and ran into a live band in the plaza.

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